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sition to the uniform election regulations "Séance Royale "in which he was to deof the government. "These people will clare his intentions. This led to the celemake me a tribune of the people in spite brated meeting in the tennis court and of myself," he cried bitterly. At Paris oath of the Commons never to separate also enemies were at work; he had to go until a constitution had been drawn up. thither to consult with his friends. On Three days afterwards the Séance Royale his return he received a perfect ovation, was held. It was on this occasion that crowns were given him, dowers showered Mirabeau showed himself as the real upon him; the whole population of Aix leader of the Revolution. The king had and other towns through which he passed made his speech, and, followed by nobles turned out to welcome him, crying: "Vive and clergy, had left the hall. Now aple roi et le Comte de Mirabeau!" At pears Court Marshal de Brézé and reMarseille it was the same; there were one minds the Commons of the royal command hundred and twenty thousand people in that they should separate. The deputies the streets. But Mirabeau's head was not sit and listen dumbfoundered; when sudturned; indeed, he used his popularity to denly up rises Mirabeau and addresses good purpose. Bread riots having broken De Brézé in these words: "We have out at Marseille, the authorities had inju- heard the steps that have been suggested diciously lowered prices; Mirabeau suc- to the king, and you, monsieur, who are ceeded in pacifying the populace and even unable to be his intermediary to the Nain inducing them to accept quietly an tional Assembly; you, who have neither enhancement. At Aix his conduct was vote nor right of speech, are not fitted to similar; here he took the parole d'hon-remind us of his words. Go and tell your neur of the people! Here, however, the nobles attempted to organize a party against him, raising the cry, "It is Mirabeau who has done all the mischief." But the popularity of the latter was too great to be overthrown; it was attested by his double election as deputy of the TiersEtat of Aix and Marseille. Mirabeau chose to represent the former.
The States-General assembled early in May at Versailles. The purpose for which they had been summoned was in the eyes of Necker and the ministers merely to sanction fresh taxes. Constitutional questions had not therefore been fully considered; and though a representation equal to that of the nobles and clergy combined had been accorded to the third estate, the boon was evidently of no avail if the voting was to be separate-par ordre and not par tête. This important point was involved in what appeared to be the merely technical question as to whether the "powers," or certificates of election, should be verified separately or in common. The court supported the Orders in their refusal to co-operate with the Commons; Necker does not seem to have made up his mind what course to take. Neither party would yield, and business could not begin; but on June 17th the Tiers-Etat constituted itself under the name of "National Assembly." Mirabeau was opposed to this, wishing to substitute the title of "Assembly of Representatives of the French People." The court party now took a counter-step by inducing the king to close the hall of the Assembly on pretext of preparing it for a grand
master that we are here by the will of the people, and that bayonets alone will drive us out."
It was the critical moment of the Revolution; a timid crowd was in an instant electrified into a determined body which declared itself inviolable and its enemies traitors to the nation. Mirabeau had saved the Revolution. On June 27th, the National Assembly became complete, when the majority of the nobles and the minority of the clergy joined it; the rest had already come over. But the courtparty were not yet defeated, and meditated crushing the Revolution by force of arms. In spite of an address to the king, which was moved by Mirabeau in one of his most eloquent speeches, the king would not consent to send away the troops; it needed the stern lesson of the taking of the Bastille to convince his advisers that the nation was with the Revolutionists. Mirabeau might at this time have been Maire of Paris instead of Bailly. Had he accepted the office, the influence which he would have exerted in Paris would perhaps have been sufficient to curb Paris; he would have had ex-officio free access to the king at all times, and their relations might have been without the slightest suspicion of intrigue.
But grief at the death of his father, for whom, in spite of all, he always retained great affection, would appear to have absorbed him at the time. "L'Ami des Hommes" died at Argenteuil in his armchair as he sat listening to his granddaughter reading.
In his last days the marquis had been
on good terms with his son, and even expressed gratification at his growing fame. One day he enthusiastically cried, "Voilà de la gloire, de la vraie gloire ! "
The story of Mirabeau is henceforth that of the Revolution, or at least of the Constituent Assembly. Though he declined to attach himself to any party, and was by no means invariably on the popular side, he was undoubtedly its most prominent figure.
The isolated position which he occupied to the day of his death is to be accounted for in several ways. If on the one hand he had loftier views and a purer ambition than the party chiefs of the Côté Droit or the ardent spirits of the Côté Gauche, or the Constitutional pedants, and held aloof from them; they not less distrusted him, some on account of the immorality of his private character, others from jealousy of his personal ascendency, others again because of his moderation. To the Abbé Maury and his party he was a dangerous Revolutionist; to Barnave and the clique that dominated the left he was too much of a Monarchist and too influential as a popular leader. Hence we find continual combinations of hostile sections against Mirabeau; with the result that it was not until some three months before his death that he became president of the Assembly.
His great object was to obtain the position of minister of the crown in a constitution founded on the English model, and thus to become arbiter of the Revolution. But he had no party to support him; and was defeated on many important constitutional points.
We have seen that he opposed the action of the Tiers-Etat in proclaiming themselves as the National Assembly; we have next to notice that he held that by the wholesale surrender of privileges made on August 4, the deputies had exceeded their powers; and that some discussion should have preceded so sweeping a measure. On the other hand Mirabeau supported the abolition of tithe without redemption, declaring that it was "not a property, but only a simple possession revocable at will of the sovereign; it is the subsidy with which the nation pays the officers of morality and education."
This no doubt did much to prejudice the mind of the pious Louis XVI. against him. The suspected complicity of Mirabeau in the events of October 5 and 6, when Versailles was invaded by a horde of women, several of the royal guards
were murdered, and the royal family were forced by the mob to return with them to Paris, acted in the same direction. But there is no evidence against him, and very strong presumption in his favor. We know from the Comte de la Marck that Mirabeau passed the whole of the 5th with him and at the Assembly. There is not a tittle of testimony that Mirabeau had any intimate relations with Orleans, even if that prince had any part in the movement. What is more, everything points to the conclusion that the event was nothing more than the momentary impulse of a hunger-stricken crowd, eager to bring back the court to Paris, and of a mob excited by reports of an approaching flight of the king to the frontiers, and of a counter-revolution. However this may be, it is certain that the king took no part in the accusation made against Mirabeau in the inquiry by the Châtelet some twelve months after.
To return to the Assembly. A prominent feature in the work of constitutionmaking had been a declaration of the rights of man in imitation of that recently drawn up in America. On this question the practical sense of Mirabeau was shown when he tried to obtain the adjournment of the question, saying that it was "a great and splendid idea, but it seems that before thinking so generously about the code of other nations, it would have been well that the bases of our own should have been, if not laid down, at least agreed upon." Here, as on other occasions, Mirabeau displayed his conviction of the futility of those theories of abstract political rights which were inspired by the evangelist Jean Jacques, and were so dear to most Frenchmen. The central idea of Mirabeau was that the Revolution and the monarchy should be associated in the work of reform. But, as we have seen, he could rely on no organized support. The aristocrats of the Right desired a counter-revolution; the Left wished to reduce the monarchy to a shadow; Necker and the ministers had no fixed policy. All but a small group, which included Pétion and Robespierre, were nominally monarchists; but all in their several ways did their best to weaken the royal power. The Côté Droit intrigued against the Revolution; while their adversaries, who formed the majority, made increasing encroachments on the executive. This majority refused to give to the crown any power of initiating laws, convoking or dissolving the legislature, or an effective
veto. Finally, by the decree which prohibited members of the Assembly from taking office, parliamentary government by responsible members was rendered impossible.
The last measure was a deathblow to Mirabeau's hopes. The object of his ambition was well known; personal jealousy was the chief motive which actuated the coalition, by which the decree was carried. Henceforth open action was impossible; the work of guiding the Revolution in the paths of monarchy had to be done underground. The relations between Mirabeau and the king cannot be dealt with fully here; but they may be given in outline. They were carried on chiefly through the Comte de la Marck, who had known Marie Antoinette since the days of her childhood, and whose counsels had great weight with her. The count was also a personal friend of Mirabeau. When first the proposal to seek Mirabeau's co-operation was made through his friend to the king, Louis gave an emphatic refusal :
"The king could hardly be unfortunate enough to be forced to such painful extremities."
When, nevertheless, in the following March, negotiations were renewed, Mirabeau himself showed some reluctance. His objections were, however, overcome; and an arrangement concluded by which he was to have his debts paid and to receive a monthly allowance in return for his advice. Mirabeau in vain endeavored to avoid the appearance of clandestine intrigue by proposing that ministers should be informed; this was denied to him.
From this time until his death he continued to send notes to Louis XVI. and the queen, advising them to court popularity, to give a cordial support to the Revolution, to maintain what was good in the Constitution, but to take steps to secure a thorough revision of those articles which weakened the executive of the crown. Mirabeau also gave occasional advice on questions of foreign policy with which he was thoroughly conversant. He succeeded in a great measure in gaining the confidence of his royal clients, and more especially that of the queen, with whom he had several interviews. In one of his notes he makes a very significant allusion to her.
"The time may come," he writes, "when it will be necessary to see what a woman and child, on horseback, are able
to effect; this is with the queen a familiar family tradition."
The reference is of course to Maria Theresa and the Magyars in 1740.
On another occasion he says of Marie Antoinette, that "she was the only man whom the king had about him."
On account of his monarchical views Mirabeau was denounced as a traitor to the Revolution. That the accusation was false is clear both from his correspondence and his conduct; but it was continually made. Thus Marat, in his infamous journal L'Ami du Peuple, called on the citizens to raise eight hundred gibbets, and hang on them all traitors, and at their head the infamous elder Riquetti. Mirabeau the younger, it may be remarked, was a strong royalist. Again, when the question arose as to what power, king or Assembly, belonged the right of making peace and war, and Mirabeau had attributed it to the former, a pamphlet bearing the alarming title of "Grande Trahison du Comte de Mirabeau" was circulated by his enemies. During this debate it is related of the great tribune, that, having seized in an instant the weak point of his chief opponent, Barnave, he made a rapid note, and immediately left the Assembly for the Tuileries gardens, where he conversed with Madame de Staël and others on indifferent matters.
The speech which he made on return. ing had an overwhelming effect; Barnave, called upon to reply, was fain to remain speechless.
Perhaps the most powerful of the great orator's efforts was the speech he inade on the demand of Necker for a patriotic contribution of a fourth of every citizen's income. Much diversity of opinion was shown on the subject; Mirabeau himself had already spoken twice. Rising a third time, he ended his speech with one of his characteristic apostrophes :
"To-day bankruptcy, hideous bankruptcy is there; it threatens to consume you, your property, your honor and you deliberate!"
The Assembly was for a moment horrorstruck at the vivid picture; then rising from their places the whole body of members called for an instant vote, and the patriotic gift was unanimously decreed. It was probably by means of his oratorical power, which Mirabeau often dexterously used to cover monarchical measures with a revolutionary glamour, that in spite of everything he maintained to the last his influence.
His greatest triumphs were won in unpopular causes.
Thus he opposed the prohibition of emigration; and when interrupted by the enrages of the Côté Gauche, silenced them by thundering out: "Silence aux Trente Voix!" Among these was Maximilien Robespierre.
When accused of parliamentary dictatorship in the Society of Friends of the Constitution, which was afterwards the Jacobin Club, he obtained another signal triumph.
"There are," he said, "two kinds of dictatorship: that of intrigue and audacity, and that of reason and talent; those who could not establish or retain the first had only themselves to blame if they did not know how to get possession of the second."
This took place in Mirabeau's last days. His health had been failing from the very beginning of his active political life; and the change from Versailles to Paris had affected it injuriously. It was only the strength of his constitution which enabled him to hold out against the combined effects of hard work and a dissolute life. He suffered agonies from ophthalmia; and during his presidency had sometimes to sit with a bandage over his eyes.
Taken ill on the night of March 27th, 1791, he insisted on going to the Assembly. The last speech he made was on the subject of mines, in which his friend De la Marck was interested. During Mirabeau's illness daily bulletins were issued, crowds surrounded the doors; the king inquired publicly each day, and privately besides. On April 2nd the great tribune died.
On the morning of that day he had said with dramatic pathos to his friend and physician Cabanis: "My friend, I shall die to-day. When one is in that position, there remains but one thing to do; it is to perfume oneself, to have oneself crowned with flowers, to surround oneself with music, so as to enter pleasantly into that sleep from which no man awakes."
The dying man left behind him many gloomy prophecies, whose fulfilment, however, he had done much to avert. To Etienne Dumont he said on parting: "When I exist no longer, they will know what was my value. The evils which I have arrested will spring from all sides upon France; this criminal faction which trembles before me will no longer have any check upon it." The consequences of the shortsightedness of the Barnaves
and Lameths of the Assembly he predicted with terrible accuracy. "They wished to govern the king instead of governing by him; but soon it will be no longer either they or he who will govern; a vile faction will dominate all, and will cover France with horrors."
Whether Mirabeau could have averted these evils is a great historical problem, too large to be discussed here.
It is certain that he saw and realized them; that at the time of his death he was directing active measures to bring the public mind to a right view of the situation; and that a measure of success had already attended his efforts. He had established an immense system of correspondence with the departments by which it was intended that the elections to the next Assembly should be influenced. It is also highly improbable that, had Mirabeau lived, the fatal flight to Varennes, which really killed the monarchy, would have taken place.
It may be well to conclude this article with some extracts showing the opinion held by his contemporaries of the great man and his work. The Duc de Ferrières, a royalist opponent of Mirabeau, says in his memoirs :
sceptre which Mirabeau had left vacant; No one dared to take possession of the those who coveted it the most eagerly appeared the most embarrassed. Was an important question raised, the eyes of all turned mechanically to the place which Mirabeau used to occupy; they seemed to invite him to place himself in the tribune, and to wait to form an opinion until he had enlightened the Assembly.
Madame de Staël, also a political opponent, writes in her " Considerations on the French Revolution: ".
The great oak had fallen; the rest were no longer worthy of remark. He was capable of moderate principles who sustained them with passion; the man who had earned so well the name of revolutionist was capable of attacking factions.
"It seems that at the death of Mirabeau the Revolution lost its providence, and that he carried with him all the good it could produce," were the words of Boissy d'Anglas.
Of his oratory Victor Hugo has strikingly written:
Chose singulier, il ne raisonnait jamais mieux que dans l'emportement. L'irritation la plus violente, loin de disjoindre son éloquence dans les secousses qu'elle lui donnait, dégageait en lui une sorte de logique supé
rieure, et il trouvait des argumens dans la fureur comme un autre des métaphores.
The same writer says that when he spoke he had a colossal movement of the shoulders, that when he shook his head a lion's mane suggested itself to the mind's eye. His terrific ugliness (Laideur grandiose et fulgurante) had an effect which might be described as electric. Mirabeau, though once highly complimented by a great actor, had a great contempt for that fausse chaleur which formed so large a part of the eloquence of Chatham.
From Blackwood's Magazine.
IN OAKHAM PASTURES.
LAST night I was haunted!
her arm, nor yet by a bogie-man of any Not by a white lady with her head under kind; but only by the echo of a sad little song that she (Dolores) used to sing to me long ago. And now, looking back through the vista of years which have come and gone, with their gleams of sunshine lighting up the mist of subdued trouble, it Mirabeau was ambitious, but it was a life and tells her tale in its own words: seems to me that song just describes her lofty ambition; if he was unscrupulous, he was not corrupt or sordid. Alas, how easily things go wrong! Dumont says that the great revolutionist A sigh too much or a kiss too long; was fond of his title of count (he never And there follows a mist and a weeping rain, assumed that of marquis), and at the bot-And life is never the same again. tom of his heart attached great importance to noble birth. He inspired great personal attachment. One of his secretaries was in such despair at his approaching death that he attempted his own life.
The funeral of Mirabeau was probably the most imposing ceremony of its kind that has ever taken place. The procession to the Church of St. Eustache, where his heart was left, and an éloge was pronounced upon him, was attended by the members of the Assembly, officials of the Department of Paris, and the Society of Friends of the Constitution, besides a military escort headed by Lafayette. After military honors had been accorded to the deceased, the body was removed to Ste. Geneviève, which had just been constituted the French Pantheon. Here the ashes of Mirabeau were to lie with those of Descartes, Voltaire, and Rousseau.
They were not, however, to find there a permanent resting-place. On the discovery, during the trial of Louis XVI., of the celebrated iron chest, papers were found which threw some light upon the relations of the dead patriot with the
The Convention thereupon ordered Mirabeau's bust to be veiled; and when a report on the papers had been received, it was decreed that "the bones of Honoré Gabriel Riquetti Mirabeau shall be withdrawn from the French Pantheon. On the same day the body of Jean Paul Marat shall be transferred to it."
After some delay the sentence was carried out, and the body was removed to the cemetery of St. Catherine.
The crime of the great man was this: "Il voulait guérir les Français de la superstition de la monarchie, et y substituer son culte."
So she sang, and sang in a way that left one sitting silent, with a lump in one's throat and a suspiciously moist eye. She did not exert herself, nor perform what I call "fireworks" with her voice; nor did she scream out her high notes in the manner that makes one leap from one's chair. But in her low, sweet voice, full of sympathy and pathos, there was something which made one feel good. Just as a glorious sunset or a glimpse of wild and beautiful scenery touches some chord in one's soul, so did her voice raise one's whole being, and seemed to draw one nearer to heaven.
I see her now-looking like some beautiful Eastern picture (such as Long would have loved to paint), clad in an Oriental sort of garment. It was what ladies call a tea-gown, I imagine. At all events, it was loosely made of some soft, silky stuff, which draped and fell in graceful, loving folds about her stately figure. Orange, too, in color, I remember, and thrown out in bold relief against the background of old carved oak with which her room was panelled; while behind her waved gently to and fro the velvety curtains touched by a little sough of briny breath sent up from the moonlit sea, to mingle its fragrance with the mignonette and roses ere it blew softly through the open window of her old Scotch home. The tiny waves broke drowsily on the beach below; and when her song ceased — with a sort of trembling, half-sobbing sigh - she still remained seated at her piano, letting her slender fingers wander dreamily over the keys, blending harmonies of big, solemn chords, and wending through majors into minors, as the spirit moved her. And I can see her small head thrown back, and a sad, far-off look in her eyes that seemed to carry her far away through all the